Its when things seem brighter, the winter and Christmas is over (typically when people simply nest!) and people are now ready for making changes.
It also works well in that you can often be moved and in your new home by the summer – and can then enjoy your new home in the good weather (that is, if we get some!)
Most people get quite overwhelmed by the prospect of moving. It is always said that its one of the most stressful points of your life along with divorce, having children and getting married, but if you get yourself organised, and utilise the help thats out there, then it can be quite painless really!
I have tried to give an easy to follow checklist that takes you through the countdown to moving, with lots of tips and tricks thrown in. Let me know if you have any extra tips and tricks, and I hope that if you are moving that you have a stress free time!
Moving comes in stages, from the initial decision to move, right through to sitting in your new home the night you have moved in. Its a long road, but so worth it, and following the steps and advice below will really help to keep you on track.
Are you absolutely sure you need to move house?
Ask yourself why you are moving house
If its for more space would your money actually be better spent on extending your current property?
The cost of moving is considerable and actually can be seen as a waste of money – extending will mean that you could get the property that works for you without wasting your money at all.
Get an estate agent to look at your ideas and to value it before and after. It may just be the sensible option! (also, you may want to think about getting plans drawn up anyway as this can be a great selling point to show potential purchasers what the potential is)
Can you reinvent your current home?
Can you use your existing rooms in a different way to make more of them?
Even simple changes and redecoration can breath new life in a home that you thought you were tired of.
I am an interior designer and home stager by trade, and have often had the situation where I have staged a home ready for selling, only for the seller to decide that they love the changes so much they wanted to stay!
Seriously think about why you are moving before you start the journey.
What to do when choosing your new property
Sell your home first
Try and get your property on the market or ideally sold prior to looking for your next property – its a difficult scenario to be in, but if you are in this position you are ready to be able to pounce on the property of your dreams when you see it, and the sellers may well look at you most favourably in a bidding war if you have your property sold already.
You may decide to sell without an agent, which can be a good idea if you are looking to save a bit of money as you save the agents fees, but you also don’t get as much marketing as an agent can provide, or access to a list of people in your area who are actively looking.
Get your home staged
To get your property sold as soon as possible, ideally you will want to have it staged for selling by a professional.
I am a little biased about this step as I am actually a home stager and interior designer by trade – and I really firmly believe in what staging can do for selling a property faster and for its maximum price.
- Staging does not have to cost a lot, but may mean the difference between selling quickly, and the property languishing on the market for weeks/months.
- This practise in common place in the US, where most homeowners would not consider putting their home on the market without it being staged first – why would you want to try and sell the most expensive asset you own when its not looking the absolute best it can look?
- Simple tricks and quick fixes can really make a difference to how viewers will perceive your home – you are trying to create the feeling that you had when you moved into your home – not the feeling that you may have now as you want to move and the home no longer fits your needs. You need to get back to the excitement you had when you first moved in.
- Personally I have moved twice over the past ten years, and both houses have sold for more than the ceiling price of the road, at the asking price, and to the first buyer that has walked through the door (the second one went to sealed bids too!). This is absolute testament that staging works, and really does take the hassle out of selling. We were ready to make a move on the house that we wanted as soon as we put ours on the market, we were in a strong position and therefore negotiated a great price for that house, and we didn’t have to have the stress of having people walking through the property for weeks or months prior to getting an offer. We didn’t even have the hassle of bartering over the selling price as people simply wanted to ensure they were the ones who got it. Quick, simple and stress free – a great way to start the moving house journey I am sure you will agree!
Before and After of a Bedroom Home Staging Example – a repaint and some accessories make all the difference
Whats on your wishlist?
Ensure you know what your wishlist for a new property is.
Ask yourself – Why are you moving?
Do you need more space, do you want to be local to a good school, do you have family or work that you want to be closer to.
Do you need another bedroom, a home office, a larger garden, a kitchen/diner etc…
If you can write down everything you want in a new home, and prioritise it, then you will be able to see which homes you want to look at and possibly cut down on your search.
It will also help you to focus on your move and what you want to get out of it.
Research the area
If you are moving to a new area, research the area and surrounding areas carefully.
See how far you would comfortably commute and draw a circle around that area on a map.
Then look at whats a high priority for you – schools, being close to shops, being rural/urban etc…. and then you can close your search location down even more – saving valuable time when viewing properties.
TIP – When viewing properties, pick one thats not what you want at all – if you see it and it is a definite NO then you can be more sure your wishlist is right – whereas you may be shocked to discover that this may actually be the one for you after all! – Don’t completely narrow what you are looking for, as you may be surprised!
Talk to estate agents
Get on all the local estate agents books – you want to be the first to find out about suitable properties.
Show that you are keen and willing to move, and not a time waster.
You want them to call you as soon as your ideal property comes on the market, and not someone else
2 Months prior to move date
- When you have found the home you want to move to, and an offer has been accepted, now is the time to really start managing your move. Don’t expect things to just happen, and don’t assume that this is the case. If you can, look to get a move date in place and agreed down the chain. Then appoint a solicitor with this date in mind. (Keep chasing this date every week so that dates don’t slip – we have had the situation where the chain was talking to each other and had a date in mind, but our solicitor had decided that they would go for a different date as it worked better for them – disaster!)
- Create a moving folder – and keep everything relating to the move in this – it will then be easy to find all documentation, letters etc…. that can really build up during this time.
- If you are transferring schools, nurseries, offices etc… then ensure that the new ones have been informed and are ready to take you and your children.
- Look at removals firms – I strongly suggest for a smooth and easy move to get them to also pack for you – as they can do this in such a short amount of time, and the cost is minimal for the stress saved. Get recommendations from people who have used them before, and get provisional dates booked in as soon as you can so that its one more thing to not have to worry about (it will also get you really thinking about the logistics of the move, in terms of whether you need any items stored if you are doing work on the new property, whether you will want to take everything you have, is there room in the new property etc….)
- Start to create a floor plan of the new property and work out what you want to put where – this will possibly change in the next few weeks, but having it written down will again force you to think about it, and will make life a lot easier when telling removals people whats going on.
6 Weeks prior to move date
- Organise mail forwarding – a years duration is best (especially if you work from home) – CLICK HERE to sort this out
- Get to know your new area – research doctors, dentists, schools, shops etc… and get yourself on their books as soon as possible – it may take a little time to get into each system
- If possible, keep your old phone number in your new house – it will make things easier
- Start to organise your belongings, it is never too early to start thinking about what you may or may not want to take with you. If you can have a big sort out now it will save time in the long run, and you will be able to see things more clearly. Look at our decluttering pages for more details of how this can be done more easily. If you declutter now you won’t have to pay removals for moving items that are of no value to you, and you won’t have to have them cluttering up your new property – think of this move as a clean slate
4 Weeks prior to move date
- With things like Sky / Virgin TV and Broadband, call and arrange for them to switch to your new address on moving day – they will then install it at your new property and you will have no break in your service – especially necessary if you work from home.
- Now is a good time to research who the cheapest and best suppliers are in your new area for gas, electricity etc…. so that you can inform them of your move and start an account if it is a different company to the one you are currently using. Create a list of everyone thatyou pay any bills to, and update or write beside it if you are going to change supplier once you move. Having everything in one place will make things much easier!
- Book pets to be looked after by friends, or put in kennels or a cattery for moving day to make life easier! Also do similar with children, as they will find the move easier if they don’t have to deal with the actual move and the stress around them.
2 Weeks prior to move date
- Let friends and family know about your move – send cards out the week prior to moving as you will be far busier once you have moved.
- Ensure all your paperwork / financials are aware of your change of address – go through each section in your filing cabinet and keep a checklist of those that you have contacted and had confirmation from
- Start to finish off the food in your freezer so that its easy to clean and you don’t waste things unecessarily.
- Ensure all your local accounts are settled and know of your move date (milkman, dentist, doctor, newsagent, library books, dry cleaners etc…)
- Anything that you need to leave for the new owners should be labelled clearly (spare keys, instructions for the cooker, alarm, boiler, etc….) – create a small folder for any paperwork that they may need going forward i.e. warranties etc… Also, check where you are to leave the keys for your old property and where your new keys will be on moving day (especially important if anyone in the chain is moving a long way away as it would be very time consuming if they were to leave and forget to leave the keys!)
1 Day before move
- If possible, get carpets and the house cleaned prior to the removals coming in to your new home – its the easiest time as its empty – then you will be moving into a fresh and clean house
- Removals firms will usually come now to pack up for you if you want this service (I highly recommend it as a time and stress saver!) When packing, label boxes for the next houses’ rooms – colour code if preferred as this is easier to see – give the removals people a plan of the new home with the room names/colours on it and then they will be able to unload accordingly
- Have a moving box with essentials that you keep with you on moving day – such as kettle, tea bags, cleaning products, hoover, spare change, food and drink, mobile with essential numbers in it, numbers for your solicitor and estate agent so you can call for any updates – etc…
- Transport all paperwork / documents / precious items with you when you move – this will help with your calmness as you won’t lose it!
- After the removals have finished in each room, hoover and clean the property – there is nothing worse for the new owners than having to clean the house as soon as they arrive. It is also a lovely touch to leave a bottle of wine and a note welcoming them to the area and hoping that they will enjoy their new home.
- Ideally for security get a locksmith to change the locks of your new property as then you will be sure that only you have access.
- Don’t even think about cooking on your first night – get a takeout and a bottle of wine and just chill in your new home – toast a successful move – tomorrow you can start to really sort everything out.
After the move
- Introduce yourself to your new neighbours – you never know when you may need help, or whether they will become friends!
- Take your time unpacking - get the essentials right and then live with the house for a short time – you may find that useage changes for each room
- I find that if your new home needs decorating it is always a good idea to paint it all in an off white or cream initially – then you can live in the space for a while, see how you live, see what the light is like etc… and then you can make proper decorating decisions over the years. This will ensure you don’t make expensive mistakes and that you get the home of your dreams that really works for you.
- Give spare keys to a friend or neighbour in case of an emergency – do it now so that you never get caught out!
When moving house you need to get organised – you need to understand why you are moving, what you want from your new home, and then find your ideal next property.
Once this has ben found, then its paramount to organise each step of your move – don’t leave things to chance, and your move should go smoothly.
Make the move stress free – or as stress free as possible for you and your family.